Rapid + Strategic

Since joining the Geo UX team, I have lead and supported over 40 studies and have become excellent at scoping research questionsrefining project scope with design, PM, and developer stakeholders, and identifying actionable insights. This page walks through my process for a single research project.

The Problem

I worked with a team of one designer, one product manager, and two engineers. They had an idea for a new product that used familiar tools in a new context. The current user flow included the cognitive load of switching tools while completing a single task. When I came on board, they had all kinds of questions about how users would interpret specific interactions and the product itself.

Research Questions

After asking briefing questions about the product context, current challenges and concerns, I took their list of questions and revised them into key sections based on real-world tasks. Then, I prioritized the top three objectives for the upcoming study: 1. Understand users’ reactions and expectations, 2. Gather feedback on expected value, key interactions, 3. Identify areas of opportunity. The results would be used to prioritize the product roadmap for the minimum viable product.

Methods + Rationale

As a new product, I quickly decided to narrow in on concept testing. Using this method enabled me to evaluate suggested use cases in a short period of time. I would have the opportunity to understand users’ mental models and an idea of how this product might be useful for them. Also, the product had never been exposed to consumers and the team needed user data to justify development to leadership.

Sample script questions include:

  • In the screener, you indicated that you use Google Maps pretty frequently. Can you briefly describe how you currently use this tool in your personal and professional life?
  • Imagine that you need to stop at a pharmacy store after this session. Can you walk me through how you would find a pharmacy and get directions to the store? Please think aloud.
  • Using Google Maps in this context, can you complete the same task of finding a pharmacy and getting directions to the store? Please think aloud, telling me what you are thinking, feeling, and trying to do.
  • If you could have any magical Google Maps feature within the X products you use, what would it be and why?

Resources + Results

From start to finish, I was able to complete the project in under three weeks. I used participant recruiting vendors and standard gift card incentives, usability labs with recording equipment, and set up team syncs throughout to align on study goals and early takeaways.

I presented the results using a shareable deck for cross-functional team members, Geo leadership, and X product team as well. Sample results deck outline:

  • Product Background: current phase in the product cycle, connection to company-wide initiatives, key research questions, research goals, expected outcomes, methodology, participant background info, study structure, key screens and user tasks.
  • Key Takeaways: top takeaways on a single slide (with links to more details), takeaway breakdowns with design references, additional details about user rationale, behaviors and preferences, user quotes, research triangulation notes, and a highlight reel.
  • Other Findings: study takeaways that inform design concepts, related to product roadmap, may not be immediately actionable.
  • Recommendations: based on research questions, objectives, and study findings, here are suggestions for specific next steps.


“Thank you ever so much for all your hard work on this Allison. I’m so impressed by not only your attention to detail before and throughout the study but also in the synthesis of the results. The video compilations were perfect in helping us consume the insights. This study has had a profound effect on our plans as [the designer] mentioned, and it will also be key to driving further integrations with [other products]. Thanks a million, and we’d love to work with you again on future studies!”

Product Manager, Google Maps

“Thank you so much for all your work Allison! Especially for walking us through the scoping, designing and preparing process of the study! It helped us with clarifying the study goals and aligning them among the team members. With the early insights you shared, we’ve already started re-prioritizing features and adjusting OKRs. This study applying Geo’s perspective, together with [related research], are providing valuable guidance for us on what to do the next.”

UX Designer, Google Maps